Joseph Llanes for AOL Blink-182 aren't all fun and games. The recently…
Tom DeLonge on Blink-182's 'Awkward' Reunion, Travis Barker's Plane Crash and the Fun and Games of Angels and Airwaves
- Posted on Feb 10th 2012 4:30PM by Cameron Matthews
But now Blink -- the band that made him, the band that launched three budding rock stars from the MTV generation -- have returned. Without much thought, DeLonge has thrown himself back into the mix, but this time with a much more responsible and stoic demeanor that is featured on their newest full-length, 'Neighborhoods.'
At the same time, Angels and Airwaves released their much-anticipated 'Love Pt. 2' and an accompanying sci-fi film. DeLonge has accomplished more in one year than most rockers do in a decade. Spinner recently spoke to the singer about his battle with anxiety, Blink-182's awkward reunion and the why the 36-year-old still likes to "get drunk and break things."
What did you ultimately want to accomplish through Angels and Airwaves' 'Love Pt. 2'?
When Angels and Airwaves started, it was an exciting time to create something completely new. It was an exciting time to figure out how to make a big band without the resources of a record label and how to gather new fans that would look at this in a different way. We thought that if we made a brand and called it Angels and Airwaves and created a world within that brand and we worked with other artists and we did different forms of media, we can tackle big subjects. We can have aspirations to make people think and feel a little differently when they're encountering the art we're putting out. And then they don't have to judge our project based solely on the music; they can judge it based on the entirety of the world.
So when doing 'Love,' it's not just getting our feet wet. We're jumping in and making the biggest splash we can with the resources that we have. That's why it took us almost five years to make a film, but the next one is going to be much bigger and much quicker.
So you are going to make another film?
Oh yeah, plans are in motion to do some really, really big things. We wanted to revolutionize the way music is commerced. We want to revolutionize the way it's made and marketed and digested. People always say, "Well, Tom thinks he's revolutionary," or, "Tom thinks he's f---in' this and that." I say things wrong because I'm an idiot. But what I mean is exactly what we're doing. We created a technology platform years ago so we can do direct-to-consumer sales of digital and physical goods. But now we're just finishing up building a Pearl Jam site, and the White Stripes and about 40 others -- and this is an Angels and Airwaves system! Then we went out and made a movie, but the movie's not just about our band. It's an actual science fiction film, an independent film. It's another way of communicating the theme of 'Love.'
We've created a company that's staffed specifically to make movies and albums and other forms of media around big themes of the human race. This is stuff that bands have never done, when you look at the seven years of Angels and Airwaves. The goal is world domination, by merging the film industry and the music industry into one independent production company or collaboration of artists under the umbrella or Angels and Airwaves.
Angels and Airwaves' song 'Anxiety' is about being "a passenger." How do you feel about anxiety? Does it drive your life?
They call it "the quickening," as you get older and as the world speeds up. It seems like the earth rotates much faster and days go by and you realize that you've been stuck in a specific job or a specific situation and you've missed out a lot of your life. You start to get a lot of anxiety, because you want to do something different. You think you're capable of so much more but just along for the ride. And that's really what the song's about. It came from a famous description of earth: "We're all just passengers on planet earth." It's true. The astronauts, when they left the earth, all had the same feeling and the same realization of the vulnerability of what Carl Sagan called "the pale blue dot." We are a thin film of life on a pale blue dot. That could be wiped away in a second. I think that we're passengers on this little tiny spaceship. We can have so much anxiety in our lives, because we don't know what the f--- to do with our lives. That dichotomy is really interesting to me.
What does 'Neighborhoods' do for you in comparison to the 'Love' project? In what ways do both fulfill you? Was it difficult to write for Blink-182 once again?
As much as I try and sound smart in this interview, I am still the kid that grew up skateboarding. I still like to have a fair share of drinks in me and break things. So I get to live both those worlds. I get to go out with Blink and play really fast and say really offensive things, and then I get to go with Angels and get to think a bit and put on an artistic performance and touch people through an emotional avenue other than just remembering your youth. I get to have eternal youth and rebellion with Blink and then I get to be an armchair philosopher with Angels and Airwaves.
But the interesting thing is, off the stage, Blink is all serious and just not what you would imagine, just like Angels is super serious onstage. But offstage, Angels is fun and games and dumb jokes the entire time. It's interesting how each band has pieces of the other's persona in it. I never feel too far from home with other.
'Neighborhoods' is a much darker record. Do you think your time in Angels and Airwaves has influenced that sound?
That's how I write now, and my responsibility in Blink has always largely been arrangements and pushing the musicality of us forward. I think Mark writes darker than he ever has, so if you couple that with how I arrange songs these days, I think it makes for a darker record. This is because Blink was excited and ready to start being more serious about its music. We had done that on the last record and enjoyed it.
Coming out of the plane crash with Travis [Barker] and losing our producer, losing Travis' bandmate DJ AM, and all the things associated with that traumatic experience, and then the breakup and trying to come back and mend those fences -- there's a lot of pieces of emotion to tie into the music these days.
How was that first day back in the studio?
[Laughs] Everyone was like "awkward ..." It was super awkward! It's like any other band, where everyone's trying to act cool and unaffected but really everyone is uncool and super affected. It's no big deal, we got through it. The only thing that heals those situations is time. At this point, it's normal, finally. For the first couple of years it was very un-normal. You still have all the baggage and you're still supposing people are certain ways, myself included. I could bet my life on what they think of me or past presumptions of me. And that's what happens in a small group. It's no different than growing up with a brother or sister. You can describe them in a couple of words. With a band, it's a business, but you're trying to act like it's not the whole time, and that's what makes it weird.
But it's all better now.
Oh yeah, we just had a kick-ass tour! Now, we have very few blowouts. Bands have big blowouts all the time, because there's lots of ego. You're usually people that never went to college: right out of high school and into a business. Then you have success, so you think you know everything. And then you grab managers and people around you that aren't businessmen. So you're like a mom-and-pop organization with a lot of money and ability to do really big things. I'm not saying we had a lot of money. That came out wrong. Please don't make me look like an a--hole. I'm just saying, you find yourselves as a bunch of rug rats that grew into something that's a real business, and you have the ability to make real decisions, but no one's really skilled to make those decisions. And that's why bands are so f---ed up and weird.
I have a bunch of companies that I run with a partner, and we don't fight ever. It's just not the same thing for some odd reason. But in a band, you just fight. People thought that Blink must be crazy, but we hardly fight at all. I think people get disappointed and angry, but I know a lot of bands that will knock each other out on stage. We've never been like that [laughs].